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The GEM Debate: Who Rules The Runway?

By Ella Rucker:

Who are those jerks on the plane who will NOT turn off their cell phones? Well, the author of this article happens to be one and doesn’t think there is anything wrong with it. The article is about why it is unnecessary to turn off your electronic devices during take off and landing even though the Federal Aviation Administration has gone through all the trouble of making electronic device usage during take off and landing a federal crime.

I did a little more digging and there are others who are also convinced that a revolt against the law is necessary.  According to them, there have been tests done and it has been proven that the radiation that is emitted from our electronic devices is less than those emitted by the famous black box which is required on most aircraft. A black box that is required to be on during the whole flight. So why aren’t are phones, tablets, iPads and other devices allowed?  Would we fall out of the sky if one or two people had to check Yelp for dinner reservations as they landed instead of waiting until they got to the gate?   More digging, and apparently there are flight attendants who are checking emails as we are in the aforementioned crucial moments of beginning and ending the flight.  And if they can, why can’t we?  Are their electronics super coded for air travel.  Nope.  Just your run of the mill technology.

Some may agree with the author of the article and others.  You remember the hubbub that Alec Baldwin created when he wouldn’t turn off his device so he could play a game with friends, but I’m a staunch “no electronics” on the plane kind of gal.  As a person who is still skittish about flying, I don’t appreciate any type of dissension from the rule. If there is any chance my life is going to end because someone heard a rumor that the FAA hasn’t taken the time to prove, I’m going to be hella (yes, with an “a”) upset.  I want to scream at these people for not following the rules.  No, I haven’t spoken up when I see a violator.  I’m not there yet, but I have watched with great concern as the flight attendants sweep the planes for the violators.

And there’s another problem I have with these small acts of disobedience. What do you tell your children?  Some things have good answers, like, “No, you can’t eat that for dinner because all that sugar will ruin your teeth.” Others have stock answers, “Because I said so.” The author of the article seems to be throwing a fit because he doesn’t agree with the FAA…but it isn’t for you to agree.  It’s the law.  Why?  Because they said so.

So what’s your take?  Do you cringe every time you see the flickering lights of a computer screen before takeoff or are YOU the one hovering in a corner, too addicted to Angry Birds to wait for the captain’s signal that all electronic devices are safe for use?  When you disobey the law do you worry about if your child takes it as a cue to behave the same way?  Let’s talk about it!


  1. Susan

    February 8, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    I follow the rules and make sure that my kids do the same ( my oldest has a phone..the younger ones have their DS’s) I am a nervous flyer as well and my concern is arriving at my destination safely..whatever they tell me to do I am going to do. What is so bad about going off the grid for a bit… READ a book or a magazine instead of an email!

  2. m.e. johnson

    February 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Remember this?: “They say housework won’t kill you but why take the chance?” Well that’s how I feel about any workings of a plane. And who are these oh-so-important people who can’t wait a few more minutes? The same ones who think it’s okay to run a red light because they ‘don’t see’ any cars coming? Who throw away a water bottle in a pristine forest? Who try to break in to the front of a ine? Sheesh!

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